Every business needs a bright spark now and then...

Every business needs a bright spark now and then...

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DUCKS IN A ROW...

DUCKS IN A ROW...

We offer a "pick 'n' mix" range of marketing services and advice that will help you get your marketing and business ducks in a row. Read More

 

Category General

What’s Your Distraction Reaction?

You might be wondering what a distraction reaction is. Despite being a catchy phrase I came up with the other day, it’s actually a real phenomenon.

Think about it. How do you deal with distraction? What do you do when you’re working on one thing and then something else vies for your attention? How you manage this is your “distraction reaction” and it’s crucial to how successfully you manage your time.

Types of “Distraction Reaction”

Some people will stop what they are doing, deal with the new thing and then maybe go back to what they were doing before or get completely distracted and do something else altogether. not a great time management technique but an easy habit to fall into (especially if you are procrastinating about the original task in the first place!).

Others will ignore  the new task, or distraction, entirely, until they have finished what they are working on, and then they will deal with it. Even more restrained people will put it on their priority list and get it to in the proper order.

I’m kind of in the middle.

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Being Available – it’s all about the contact…

I was reading a great post the other day about how to write a great FAQ page – you can see the whole post here. One of the tips (number 6 actually) was about Being Available to your customers. The point in this case was put a link to your contact page if the customer (or potential customer) has a question that hasn’t been addressed by the FAQ page. And the complaint in this blogger’s case was companies who don’t put their contact details on their website.

And I totally agree. If you don’t put your contact details on your site then it screams “don’t trust us!”. Ok you might not want your address on your site if you work from home (like I do) but there are sites out there that provide products or services but do not have any way for their customers to contact them

I find this so annoying and...

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Authentic Networking finally takes shape

You may remember (or may not as it has been a while since I updated this blog – just blame the fact of being Just Too Busy!) that I did a post on how to make networking work for your business. If you don’t remember, and I won’t blame you if you don’t, then here is the full article from last November : “Networking: How to make it work for your business”.

Well, I am delighted to say that the authentic networking I mentioned in that article has now taken shape as an actual, real-live event: the new Authentic Networking group for small businesses based in Horsham, Worthing and everywhere in between.

Now in the context of a potentially (if not actually) global blog, that probably doesn’t sound like much. But for me it is a personal achievement that I have been wanting to do for some time.

I am ...

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Ooh we’re all becoming teenagers…..!

No it’s not a magic trick or plastic surgery on a global scale or even some airborne virus from Fringe, but quite bizarrely we are about to enter the decade of the teens – the 20 teens and we are all about to become teenagers again. Woo…. Hoo?

It’s weird, I used to look at my driving licence after I had just passed my test and think WOW, 2043 – I can drive until then? I’ll be sooooooo old. 🙂 And yes it’s still a way away, but now I am on the ‘other’ side of the divide and the fact that we are about to go into 2010 just drives home the fact that another year has passed us by and time just will not stop! Boo time!

I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, I just felt the need to express my thoughts about this, because like me I just know you are probably sitting thinking – crap that year went fast and I’m soooo glad it’s over over OR crap that year went fast – it was soooo much fun. Whichever it is for you: “Crap that year really went fast!”

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What to do when you’re suffering from Christmas stress….

You WILL enjoy yourself this time of year, and make sure everyone else does, even if you have to half kill yourself to do it…..

DON’T…. GIVE…. IN…!

Yeah, that makes sense. Off you go.

Regardless of your religion – or whether you even have one – Christmas time brings about a change to our daily lives – and it starts about November 1st. Joy be to all – yes and we have to put up with it for longer and longer every year.

Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I really do. I love the excitement and anticipation of it all – both as a kid and a big kid with little ones of my own now. I love the socialness of Christmas – the thought of getting together with people you might not have seen all year due to the pace of every day life. And I love the carols, the fayres, the decorations and the giving of presents. I love it all.

But I DON’T love it – for 7 weeks before the day itself. I DON’T love the pressure to buy all the latest gadgets and toys. I DON’T love the commerciality of it all, I DON’T love chocolate advent calendars (what happened to the excitement of the different pictures each day and the countdown being enough?) and I certainly DON’T love the putting up of decorations before 13th December. So yes I guess you could say I’m a Christmas purist. And that means I am determined to enjoy myself this time of year despite it being rammed down throat for sooooooo long – and I will do it without the stress.

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Have you got the “Chaos” time?

You know I LOVE this concept.

Clock on Furry CushionsI heard about it at my last Athena group meeting where our guest speaker brought up the concept of chaos time. When she said it I thought, “What on earth is that?” Actually it’s quite simple and something most of us already do – just not in such an organised way.

Chaos Time is a sacrosanct block of time that you mark out in your diary, say once a week or once a fortnight, so that if anything unexpected happens in your business or your life which disrupts the normal smooth flow (yeah right!), you have the time already set aside to ‘catch up’.

Having had nearly two months off ill recently, and having loads to catch up on, I really need Chaos Time and having implemented a new weekly schedule, every Tuesday afternoon is now my Chaos Time. And it feels really good…

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To-do lists make you invincible!

pencil and checklist

Again I start a blog post with an over-statement… Or do I?

The humble to-do list makes me feel invincible. Why? Because they make me feel in control of my life and they make me feel good when I cross something off them – they make me feel like I am achieving something. They conquer my fear. It’s that simple.

Over the years, I have read a number of time management articles (heck I’ve written a couple of them!) and one thing I’ve noticed is that they all say pretty much the same thing or things. The tips are the same – just written differently and from different points of experience – and to be honest most of them are common sense.

But when you are struggling against a never ending list of things to do, a mountain of admin and more – then time management seems like a pretty good idea. But can I tell you something? Time management – when you drill down into it – is a solution to a problem and that problem is usually (for most of us anyway) procrastination.

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When losing a client is a good thing…

Square Peg in a Round Hole_0565I lost a client today.

Not for the first time and probably not the last. In my 8-plus years of running small businesses (first a local newspaper and now with Just Too Busy) I have lost a few advertisers and clients. It happens to everyone – sometimes the fit isn’t right, sometimes the expectations aren’t right and sometimes it’s just better to part ways.

Now anyone who says they have never lost a client or a customer is either one) insane (yes insanity is fun but hardly practical) OR two) they are lying. Now I hate to cast aspersions on anyone and I would much rather believe we are all slightly bonkers, so let’s go with the former.

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Moving home? Moving office? Take away a little bit of the stress….

house moving boxesI have just moved home, which means I have just moved office (as I work some of the time from home). And it was horrible! As you can see from the date of my previous post (26th May) it has been a while since I have been able to blog.  The reason? UTTER CHAOS!

And although there were some external factors that caused this chaos (mainly BT messing up my Internet connection) but the majority of it is post move chaos – changing my power supply, moving Sky, changing phone numbers and the most time consuming one: telling all my services, banks etc that I have moved. It is such a draining process and I keep putting it off because of that.

I have to unpack my files, dig out the latest statement or letter from those companies and then write them a letter, print it, put in an envelope, put a stamp ...

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Marketing Basics: Promotions and Competitions…

And using them the right way to raise your profile

OK…. I have run competitions before. In my newsletter and in the ‘real’ world. And to be honest they don’t always work. But when they do, they can be very powerful for your business. They must be, otherwise why would so many companies, including the ‘big boys of the bottomless marketing budgets” use them? (They may have money to spend but they don’t often waste it!)

So running a promotion or a competition seems like you are just giving stuff away. Wrong. You are using promotions and competitions to gain information about your target audience. And that phrase is key – target audience. The reason why many promotions and competitions don’t work, is because they are aimed at the wrong audience for the business involved, or the offer or prize being supplied just doesn’t interest them.

I know I have talked about your target audience before but this is just another example of why it is key; why it is crucial to know and understand your target audience. If you don’t know who you are selling to, and why, and what, then you’re marketing efforts are going to be sporadically productive at best.

If you don’t know who/what your target audience is, then you need to do some research and thinking about your product or service. If you don’t know who your target audience then you have more thinking to do. If you do have a good idea then well done! You are in the minority probably. But let me be clear it is a target audience. Target, as in pinpoint. Not general, but focused.

A target audience is not: “all small business owners” no matter how much you think it is or want it to be. With approximately 4 million small businesses in the UK you can’t be possibly be targeting them all in the same way. You need to focus down.

Moving on…

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